Use these tricks when you can’t walk your dog for his daily exercises.
You already know that your dogs need regular exercises to be healthy physically and mentally. Sometimes, however, pet owners might not be able to bring out their dog for a walk due to bad weather or other priorities. When this happens, dogs usually develop pent-up energy that makes them hyperactive. When it’s not possible to exercise regularly with your dog, here are 12 ways pet owners can do to tire out their dogs:
1. Use Stairs
If you live in a two-story house, consider using the stairs for the dog’s exercise. This might even be better than a regular walk or run because the steps make the routine more challenging. To motivate your dog, you might want to guide him with a leash or use his toys to make him go up and down the stairs. Here are more tips on how to train your dog to use stairs quickly. Avoid this with dogs with joint problems, or senior pets.
2. Different Variations of Fetch
Dogs love a good old-fashioned game of fetch and you can do this indoors too by throwing his favorite toy in the hallway and asking him to retrieve it. Do this several times in order to help him release his pent-up energy. If you have a bigger indoor space, you can throw wider so that he’s got more area to run. You might even want to play fetch by the stairs for that extra challenge.
Be careful, however, with obstacles while playing fetch indoors. Make sure as well that the dog isn’t fetching heavy items that could cause problems with his legs, suggested experts from Vienna’s University of Veterinary Medicine in the BMC Veterinary Research journal.
3. Use a Treadmill
You and your dog can share the treadmill for your daily exercises, or you can buy your pooch his own doggy treadmill. In the beginning, however, your dog might need to learn how to walk on it to give him enough time to get used to the machine. Keep in mind, however, that dogs must never be left unattended when using the treadmill since their tail could be caught in between cords. If you have the budget, you can buy a treadmill that has been specifically designed for pets and not humans. There are plenty of choices online, and vets recommend the use of treadmills to most pet owners.
4. Train Dogs to Do “Doggy Push-ups”
Dogs need to work up their leg muscles to keep their balance and gait inline, so train them to do “doggy push-ups” with an easy trick. The movement basically entails repeating the commands “sit” and “down.” If the dog hasn’t tried this before, use a treat to motivate him to learn what these commands mean.
5. Play Tug-of-war
A game of tug-of-war can be fun for your dog despite a common misconception that it could make them aggressive. Experts learned in a study published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science that dogs wouldn’t become predatory if it’s the owner who initiates the tug-of-war.
Pet owners also have to make sure they are always in control of the game so that no accidents can happen. Play only if you’ve taught the dog to release a toy on command. Repeat the process of tug-of-war until he becomes weary and tired from pulling. You may also mix this up with a game of fetch or push-ups.
6. Set an Indoor Obstacle Course
Not everyone can afford an agility course since they’re usually quite expensive. But, do you have boxes lying around? Don’t throw these out just yet. Instead, use it to make an indoor obstacle course for your dogs to play with. Carefully plan out where you’ll place the boxes inside your house or apartment to guarantee that no one gets hurt. An obstacle course trains dogs to be agile but also challenges them mentally.
7. Use a Hula-hoop (or a Tire)
Teach your dogs to jump into a hula-hoop (or an old tire). But before you get to this part, you have to train the dog to be familiar with the hula hoop or other equipment; he has to learn to walk through it first. You can motivate him to move by giving treats. When he knows to walk through it, slowly raise the hoop one inch at a time. Command him to jump until he gets the hang of it.
8. Use Light Activated Toys
You may have seen dogs in YouTube videos going crazy chasing after laser lights. Dogs, with their curious nature, won’t hesitate to run after this, which might work to disperse their energy. But animal behaviorist Nicholas Dodman recommended letting dogs chase after light-activated toys instead of a laser. They need to be able to get a tangible reward so that the act of chasing won’t turn into a behavioral problem.
9. Play Hide and Seek
Like children, dogs love a game of hide and seek and the best part is they don’t mind being the “it” all the time. Simply slip behind a door, a large furniture, or get inside a closet. Call out the dog’s name and wait until he comes looking for you. When he finds you, make a big fuss about it or give him a treat. Repeat the game as necessary as possible.
10. Play Cups
Hide a treat under one cup in full view of your dog. Switch it up and allow him to find the treat by guiding him to knock down the cup. When your dog gets used to the game, you can make it more challenging by adding a few more cups. This exercise will help stimulate his mind and put his nose to work, too. If playing often, make sure to use low calorie treats to avoid overfeeding your pooch.
11. Blow Bubbles
This kids’ toy also works great on dogs but if you don’t have one, you can make a bubble mixture using a cup of dish soap, 1/4 cup of corn syrup and six cups of water. Let the mixture sit overnight so you can have bigger bubbles for your dog to jump or chase after. You can also find specialty bubble solutions online that are made just for dogs. These come with fun scents like bacon or peanut butter to awaken his sense of smell.
12. Play Puzzle Games
Puzzle toys are the easiest and most effective tools to tire out dogs when they can’t have their daily walk. Kong, Barnacle, Atomic Treat and Magic Mushroom are some of the reliable choices and you can purchase these at large online stores. Dogs that aren’t hyperactive are easier to manage and look after. By balancing your pet’s physical and mental exercises daily, you can be certain that he’ll stay relaxed for the rest of the day even when you’re just indoors.
READ NEXT: 5 Ways to Train a Hyperactive Dog to Calm Down
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